Muntinlupa City Council tackles measure banning sale of medicine in sari-sari stores

The Muntinlupa City Council is discussing a proposed ordinance banning the sale of medicine in “sari-sari” (variety) stores.

This, after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier urged local government units (LGUs) nationwide to pass ordinances to approve the policy.

The Muntinlupa City Council (Muntinlupa PIO)

Coun. Raul Corro, the City Council’s majority floor leader, said the proposed ordinance was on first reading on Feb. 21.

“Since FDA is situated in Muntinlupa we will invite FDA to the public hearing to discuss the matter with them,” he said.

The DILG made the proposal following reports about the proliferation of fake medicine in small retail stores.

“LGUs should protect the health and general welfare of their constituents. We, therefore, urge LGUs to ensure that sari-sari stores within their jurisdictions are not selling any medicine because under the law, hindi sila autorisado (they are not authorized),” Año said.

Año also ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to arrest violators who sell medicine, especially fake.

The DILG cited Section 30 of Republic Act No. 10918 (Philippine Pharmacy Act), which states that only FDA-licensed retail drug outlets or pharmacies are allowed to sell drugs and medicine to the public.

Last Feb. 14, the FDA reported that from Jan. 13 to Feb. 11, it received 185 reports on sari-sari stores that were illegally selling medicines, of which 78 were confirmed to be guilty. Nine stores were found selling fake medicine including COVID-19 medicine.

The FDA requested the DILG to urge all LGUs to pass ordinances to ban sari-sari stores from selling medicines.

DILG Usec. Jonathan Malaya earlier called on the public to buy medicine only from authorized drug stores and pharmacies.

“Mere possession of counterfeit drugs is a punishable act under the law. We only want what’s best and safe for the public,” he said.